The Bovet Amadeo Fleurier BraveHeart: Two Brave Hearts Are Better Than One
In 1995, a film was released that hauled in $210.4 million at the box office: Braveheart.
Braveheart garnered ten Academy Award nominations that year and won five, including best picture, best director, and best cinematography.
Though it did fudge the history somewhat, Braveheart was a box office smash that catapulted Mel Gibson into the spotlight as a director.
Braveheart has gone on to be synonymous with fighting for what is right even if you are the underdog.
By any definition of the word, Braveheart is epic. It stands out as a marvel; even if you prefer comedies over period dramas, you are likely to watch it at least once because it deserves to be seen.
There are a few things in the world that are so awesome they deserve to be seen, no matter what your interests or passions are. The Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon, and every episode of Friends are just a few examples that spring to mind.
Another awesome thing that deserves to be seen, something that coincidentally shares its name with that 1995 Mel Gibson flick, is the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier BraveHeart. This incredible timepiece packs a wallop of engineering excellence and some pretty intense architecture. It is pretty marvelous from crystal to crystal, from quick release lug to quick release lug.
In 2010, the Amadeo convertible case system was introduced, creating the first four-way timepiece. The case is reversible, thanks to the quick release lug system, allowing the strap to be flipped very quickly via a small set of buttons on the crown guard. The top strap can be removed and followed by a swivel opening case ring, which when opened releases the bottom strap.
If you don’t want to rock the BraveHeart as a wristwatch (front or back) then you can leave the case ring open and it acts as a stand, turning the watch into a desk clock. Or, you can close the case ring and attach a pendant chain where the top strap is normally connected, turning the BraveHeart into a pocket watch.
Thanks to one set of buttons and a swiveling case ring, the Amadeo Fleurier BraveHeart can turn into four different machines for your viewing pleasure.
Beauty isn’t only skin deep
While this system is amazing and remarkably simple it is still just the case, which, without the movement inside, would make it complicated jewelry. Luckily, the insides have a smattering of interesting engineering and impressive patents to make sure you stare into the depths of the BraveHeart’s soul.
First off, the watch has two faces, providing the wearer with two watch styles and two ways to read the time. On one side, there is a retrograde minute pointer (awesome), a simple hour hand, and a display of seconds utilizing the arms of the tourbillon bridge. On the opposite side, there is a standard hour and minute hand on a slightly larger dial as well as a power reserve indicator in the center that is kept very minimal (the scale is applied to the underside of the sapphire crystal). This side also has a second hand, co-axial to the tourbillon, but turning clockwise (which is opposite to the direction the now-flipped tourbillon is moving).
This is accomplished using the carriage patent for seconds that debuted in 2014’s Virtuoso II. This mechanism allows for the reversal of a co-axial hand to move against the direction of spin on the carriage, ensuring that the second hand moves true to the watch face. And while this is a very cool effect when viewed from either side, it is amplified by the fact that the tourbillon really does appear to be floating just off the side of the movement.
That effect is the result of another patent and some clever engineering. Bovet decided to change how a flying tourbillon is mounted, and this has made all the difference. A flying tourbillon is normally pivoting off a bearing mounted at the base of the carriage, usually in a plate and unsupported on the top. This prevents challenges due to the weight of the carriage and the extreme cantilever. Usually, a large bearing is used to offset these issues, which makes for a very solid foundation – the opposite of what Bovet was going for with the BraveHeart and the intended “floating” tourbillon.
Change it up
So the idea was put forward to move the bearing and pivot point to the center of the cage, eliminating issues with cantilevering but wreaking havoc on traditional tourbillon design. The solution was to split the carriage into two parts, with the escapement hanging below the pivot and the balance and cage sitting on top. The pivot holds the two via a central shaft and makes for a very stable rotation. It also allows for the tourbillon bridge to disappear into the tourbillon itself, accentuating the desired appearance of a floating tourbillon.
I always said that Bovet’s tourbillons looked like they were floating; knowing how makes it even more magical to a mechanics nerd like me.
Another engineering choice that aids in the floating appearance is the fact that no going train wheels extend above the tourbillon carriage, which keeps the movement plates lower and allows the tourbillon to float up and out of the movement.
The balance and hairspring in the top half of that flying tourbillon are no plain-Jane, run-of-the-mill pieces of hardware. (For the record, I make no claims that Janes are plain, as I am sure many are quite lovely.) The balance is something out of science fiction, coupled with a spring that is a fairly rare specimen itself.
New territory: the “felly”
The balance is what Bovet terms a balance “felly” instead of a balance wheel.
What the heck is a “felly,” you might ask?
I asked, and it turns out it is a general term for the “exterior rim or a segment of the rim of a wheel supported by the spokes,” which technically makes all balance wheels with spokes a “felly.” Only solid balance wheels would be exempt from the possible classification, but for the sake of semantics, it is used to show that the balance is not solid or even close to it. In fact, the balance is basically three spokes with three felly sections attached to the ends in the shape of an ogive.
An ogive is the “roundly tapered end of a two-dimensional or three-dimensional object,” which in this case resembles the battle-axe rotor from MB&F. Since it’s a mathematical shape, one can clearly see why it was used by both; it is an aerodynamic shape that maximizes mass and stability at the end of a spoke.
For a balance, um, “felly,” it makes good sense. Attached to each felly section is an adjustable weight, or an inertia block that allows for the fine and precise balancing and dynamic adjustment of the balance.
Attached to the balance felly is a cylindrical hairspring that is drawn, rolled, and shaped in-house by Bovet and its manufacturory Dimier. Its use adds significantly to the precision and consistent rate of the balance as a cylindrical hairspring coils and expands much more evenly and concentrically compared to flat mainsprings.
That’s not all, folks
For the smoothest and flattest power delivery possible in order to achieve maximum consistency of precision, Bovet chose an extra-long power reserve with a big, fat, juicy, and relatively consistent power delivery of 22 days.
Yeah, you read that right, twenty-two days! That is more than thirteen times the industry average of 40 hours and can provide literally weeks of consistent power delivery.
But how can you wind that? Seriously, it would take forever!
Well, yes, it would since it takes somewhere around 30 to 40 turns to wind a forty-hour power reserve.
Bovet didn’t even blink at this one. The brand designed a micro-spherical differential winding gear setup fitting directly in line with the winding stem! It is so complicated that the teeny-tiny micro-pinions on the satellite gear needed double-cut conical teeth, which just happens to be a brand new three-dimensional shape for gear teeth.
Because of this system, the BraveHeart and its 22-day power reserve can be fully wound in half the normal time it, all in less than 80 turns of the crown for 22 days of autonomy. And that differential is viewable through a small aperture in the rear dial as well.
Not too shabby, Bovet, not too shabby.
Phew, all this engineering awesomesauce is tiring; I might need to take a nap after just thinking about this. The Bovet Amadeo Fleurier BraveHeart is seriously an amazing piece that does not disappoint, and I haven’t even mentioned the beauty of the case, the movement, the bridges, and engraving. Plus all the finishing that goes into these spectacular pieces.
I got the chance to sit down with an engraver to watch and learn how he engraved the bridges, even trying my hand at it, and I must say Bovet employs some talented craftspeople. I was barely able to get a passable curved line before I had to hand the graver back to the professional. Naturally, I came away from that with an even greater appreciation for the watch and for the technique.
But I will let the visuals speak for themselves. Of course, nothing fits everyone’s taste, but anyone would be hard-pressed to call this watch anything but beautiful, and I bet you will agree. With all that went into this watch, and all that it can do, and everything it stands for, I am deeply impressed and inspired.
So inspired that instead of a breakdown I will instead offer up a different rating system I call the Nerd-Writer Quotient. This takes into account impressive facts about a piece and divides them to obtain one single number. Any Nerd-Writer Quotient is incomparable to another Nerd-Writer Quotient, yet stands as a signifying condensation of beauty, engineering, and fantasticism. It will be designated by the Greek letter Ξ.
The calculation goes as follows:
Power reserve (528 hours) ÷ number of patents represented in the BraveHeart (6) ÷ number of ways to use this watch (4) ÷ number of co-axial second hands (2)
Nerd-Writer Quotient of the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier BraveHeart:
528 ÷ 6 ÷ 4 ÷ 2 = 11Ξ
For more information, please visit www.bovet.com/product/braveheart.
Case: 45.2 x 16.2 mm, white or red gold and c
Movement: manually wound Caliber 17BM02AI22J
Functions: hours, minutes (retrograde), double co-axial seconds; power reserve indication
Limited: 30 pieces in white gold or red gold; 20 pieces in platinum
Price: $557,700 (red gold); $632,500 / $646,600 (red gold with various degrees of diamond setting); $569,200 (white gold); $1,161,500 (platinum with diamond setting); all prices listed here do not include applicable sales tax